The stage was set — and wet. The Crestview boys soccer team was poised for a repeat trip to the regional tournament. The Rebels bounced Garfield from districts last year and were ready to do it again.
Unfortunately, the G-Men dampened an already soaked and muddy Zachary Garwood Soccer Complex and the moods of the Crestview-faithful with a 1-0 win to capture a Division III district title. The first in school history.
“They play really good defense,” said Crestview coach Jonathan Kinkead. “They play for 1-0 wins. We’re not used to playing teams that are so defensive-minded.”
The lone goal, by Ante Dejanovic, came with 17 minutes left in the first period after Rebel goal tender Derek Bable was whistled for an infraction. Dejanovic then lined up for a free kick that sailed over a wall of defenders and into the goal.
“They said our four-year starter at keeper was over the line,” Kinkead said. “That kind of a call shouldn’t judge a game with regionals on the line. It is what it is.
“But in games like this, one call can change the entire thing. Other sports, there’s more points. In soccer, it’s one goal to define the outcome.”
Still, Garfield delivered on its chance. Crestview didn’t. The Rebels out-shot the G-Men 30-5.
“We haven’t been behind since August, so we’re not used to it,” Kinkead said. “We needed to take advantage of our opportunities more and we obviously had a lot of them.”
At the 22-minute mark of the first half, the Rebels scored, but the goal was waved off due to contact in the net.
“I can’t argue with refs,” Kinkead said. “It’s their call.”
Greg Bable created the most chances for Crestview (15-3-1), with Tobin Gross, Andrew Batchelor, Josh Schlueter and Anthony Marr also taking a bulk of the shots.
They were stopped by a pair of All-District players, Tim Schwann and Alex Wintonsky, along with a stifling scheme.
“We lay our hope with a good defense,” fourth-year Garfield coach, Michael Coney, said. “We couldn’t over-expose ourselves with how fast they were coming at us. We pulled four or five guys back at all times.”
Before last year, the G-Men had just one winning season since the program’s inception. Now, they enter regionals with a 13-3-2 record.
“We’ve been working toward this,” Coney said. “We saw these guys last year and knew it was going to be a tough game.”
The Rebels beat Garfield, 1-0, in overtime in 2011.
“I’m sure it was enticing for them,” Kinkead said. “But even their coach said we played the better game.”